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09Oct2015

Shocking: Easy Access to Tobacco Near Schools Despite Ban

 

Gurgaon: City schools are attempting to check the sale of tobacco items around their grounds in Gurgaon. Within 100 yards of several school compounds, tobacco products were found in grocery shops or inside shopping complexes.

"We have tried a lot of times to get the shop closed and to our knowledge, no tobacco products are available near our campus anymore," said Rupa Chakravarty, principal of Suncity School. When told that tobacco products were still being sold under cover, she said, "There is only this much we can do, the police have to do their job."

Police confirmed that they would soon start awareness sessions at the SHO-level. "We haven't been able to focus on this area as other things take precedence. But starting Monday, we will start awareness training sessions at the level of SHOs," said ACP Rajesh Kumar.

He confirmed that in case when the sellers return, they would issue challans and if that also fails to discourage them, stricter action would be taken.

Preeti Yadav, whose child goes to The Heritage School, said, "There were three shops selling tobacco products near the school compound. After I wrote to them, school authorities acted on it and they were removed." However, she added that a grocery shop continued to sell tobacco products.

Dr Vedant Kabra, director of surgical oncology at Fortis, said, "The age for initiation of tobacco is 10-12 in Haryana as opposed to 13-15 years in the rest of country, thus it is important that tobacco be kept out of reach and sight of the students."

Cigarette and other tobacco products are prohibited within 100 yards of any educational institution according to the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003.

A spokesperson for The Heritage School said, "Illegal shops selling all kinds of stuff are a nuisance and a safety hazard for our kids . Unfortunately, we have no control over them. We filed a police complaint four months ago and with regular follow-ups got one such shop shut already."

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